Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah rugby team will resume play, but on two-year probation
Rugby » University to set guidelines for team for program to continue
First Published May 06 2013 11:01 am • Last Updated Dec 07 2013 11:31 pm

The University of Utah on Monday agreed to reinstate the men’s rugby club after January, but the club will remain on two year’s probation for violating player behavior standards and for using the university’s athletic logo without permission.

The reinstatement came as 12 members of the team also on Monday released a letter of apology that explained its violations and reassessed the club’s leadership.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Members of the team have taken responsibility for their mistakes and now must be held accountable," Barbara Snyder, vice president for student affairs, said in a written statement. "The rugby program has a rich history with a passionate following and I’m confident it will emerge stronger after this unfortunate chapter."

Utah’s rugby team is a club sport managed through Campus Recreation Services, not University Athletics.

The club originally was put on probation in June 2011 for failing to follow policies and pay money owed to the university. Then, according to the team’s letter, in May 2012, during a return trip from an Elite 8 match at St. Mary’s in Moraga, Calif., students bought and drank alcohol. On the same trip, a player assaulted a trainer.

Following those infractions, the rugby club was put on suspension for one year and was banned from competing in Utah’s name. However, the team, under another name, continued to wear uniforms featuring the university drum-and-feather logo.

In April, the U. of U. then expanded the suspension through 2014.

Team member Dan Christensen on Monday acknowledged that writing the letter was part of the club’s reinstatement. There was another reason, too.

"We wanted to let the public know what was going on," he said. "It was a good time to clear that up. At the same time, we wanted to take responsibility for our actions."

Christensen said that so far, none of the players, many of whom are from outside Utah and came to school to play rugby, have left the program.

story continues below
story continues below

U. of U. administrators are meeting with team members to outline to outline a memorandum of understanding that "clearly defines expectations that must be followed in order for the program to continue," according to the statement. "Once the suspension is revoked this January, the team will then be on probationary status for two years."

The team’s letter blamed the team’s problems on a lack of communication and mistakes made by "a few zealous alumni, players and coaches."

"The  team publicly and formally apologizes to the University of Utah," the letter reads. "Working together with university administration, the University of Utah Men’s Rugby Club will be restructured to operate according to university expectations ... We look forward to continue working with the university administration to bring the club back into full compliance."

The rugby club is also looking for a new coach following the resignation of Blake Burdette. According to club sport guidelines, any coach is under the supervision of the team. Coaches are elected by the team and can be fired. No coaches have yet been approached.

Christensen said the team hopes to schedule its first opponent in January.

"Hopefully, we can travel to Mesquite and play a team from California," he said.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.